BabyDumpling has been growing by leaps and bounds over the last couple of weeks. Two months ago, she didn’t know how to crawl, and we were just starting to get her used to standing. A month ago, we started encouraging her to walk while holding onto our hands.
A few weeks ago, we started encouraging her to “cruise” on her own, meaning walking while holding onto something, like furniture. We started off with the sofa in the living room, and I tried placing a toy out of her reach to encourage her to move. At first, she would just reach for the toy and lean her body over, leaning until she fell. For many days, she would do the same thing and never move her feet. After she took her first step, she was still very tentative and gave up on reaching the toy pretty quickly. Eventually, she got the hang of it and shakily took a few steps (the minimum number required to reach her toy). She did fall a couple times (on the rug) in the process and cried, but we tried not to react too much to her falling, so that she wouldn’t think it’s a big deal.
At around the same time, she started to learn to crawl. She actually cruised before she crawled, but perhaps she realized she liked being able to move, and had more incentive to crawl after she experienced walking. When she started crawling, she did what I call “the zombie crawl,” which is like a modified army crawl using only one arm. She uses one arm in front of her to pull herself, assisted a little bit by the elbow of her other arm, all of which drags her entire stomach and legs behind her. I tried this position myself and it is extremely tiring and probably the least efficient way to crawl, but for some reason, this was the way she chose. We tried “modeling” the doggy crawl pose to her many times, and she just looked at us like we were idiots (the same way she looks at DoggyDumpling). We noticed that she really liked to knock down towers built out of her wooden toy blocks, so to encourage her to crawl, we built towers all around the living room, and she would zombie crawl over and knock them all down. A friend of ours saw a video of her doing this and dubbed her, “BabyDumpling, Destroyer of Towers, First of Her Name.”
Eventually, DaddyDumpling discovered that food was a much better incentive than toys, so he started putting little baby cheerios out of her reach. She loves food. At first, she would crawl at a leisurely pace over to the cheerio, grab it with her chubby little hand, and stuff it in her mouth. But DoggyDumpling also wanted the cheerios, and so they started to compete for it. This really increased BabyDumpling’s crawling speed. Sometimes DoggyDumpling would nab the cheerio just as BabyDumpling got there, and she would get really annoyed with DoggyDumpling and shoot him the nastiest look I’ve ever seen from a baby. Other times, DoggyDumpling would be waiting patiently at the finish line, and BabyDumpling would start yelling at him and waving her arms (to swat him away?) even before she got there, just to warn him not to eat her cheerio.
Once we realized how effective food was as an incentive for crawling, we also used cheerios to get her to cruise more. BabyDumpling likes to hold onto the windowsill because it’s just at her height and she can see outside. We started putting cheerios on the windowsill and getting her to walk from one end to the other. Ever since she started doing that, she’s become much more confident in her cruising. She never seems to get tired of standing, although we haven’t tested how long she can stand for (I’m guessing an hour).